The Common Man Speaks


Humshakals Review

Director: Sajid Khan

Producers: Vashu Bhagnani’s Pooja Films

Writers: Sajid Khan, Robin Bhatt and Akarsh Khurana

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor, Tammannah Bhatia, Esha Deol, Bipasha Basu

Music: Himesh Reshammiya

Genre: Comedy (???)

Rating: * ½

By: Keyur Seta

Story Outline: Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) and Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) are the best of buddies. Kumar works in Ashok’s multi-million dollar business empire. Ashok’s father is in coma since 15 years. Ashok’s uncle (Ram Kapoor) is eager to enjoy Ashok's wealth all by himself. But as he is bound by few clauses in the will, he can’t kill Ashok and Kumar. So he sends the two friends to a mental asylum where Ashok and Kumar’s lookalikes are being treated. But this is not the end as far as the saga of the lookalikes is concerned.

Review: With Humshakals, director Sajid Khan was expected to be back on track or at least produce something better than his last outing Himmatwala. But he has come up with a huge surprise, not in a good way though. Humshakals has not only turned out to be worse than Himmatwala but it also falls in the category of one of the worst mindless comedies churned out by Hindi cinema.

One is expected to keep logic and reasoning away while watching such mindless comedies. That’s fair enough because such films are only meant to tickle your funny bone. But you can’t take the audience for granted and expect them to be completely dumb to get amused by horribly shocking basic plot, twists and many subplots. Try to fathom these points:-

  • humshakals-posterA man keeps funding his friend’s illegal scientific laboratory. What is that? They run it like a professional laboratory so what is its exact motto?
  • That scientist produces a medicine that can make a human behave like a dog for 24 hours.
  • A bribed ward boy of a mental asylum mixes that medicine in two glasses of water meant for one of the pairs of Saif and Riteish. The culprit is seen committing that crime through the CCTV footage by the doctor and the dean but no action is taken against him. In fact, he is not even confronted for this!
  • A man suffering from the third stage of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is highly dangerous so he needs to be kept away in confinement. So what do they do? Instead of keeping him in a different room, he is kept way under in a secret basement. Why???
  • Nobody knows about the existence of that patient. The main doctor in-charge is also completely unaware about him. However, a ward boy not only knows about him but also has the keys to open the secret place! Huh!
  • The condition of the supposedly utterly dangerous patient is improved in a jiffy. Not just that, he also becomes able to impersonate someone else. But still he goes into a mental stupor due to one reason. So to calm him down, one just needs to present him with a lollypop!
  • A lot of plot twists are brought in by using substances like the above medicine, chloroform, seductive deodorants, etc.
  • If I continue to list down more of such ghastly absurdities, I might end up writing a book. In short – the above points are just a few grams from a kilogram of nonsense.

The bigger problem with Humshakals is that it reaches highly insensitive and sadist levels, especially when it comes to portraying mentally retarded and physically challenged people. These are some incidents:-

  • Patients in a mental asylum are treated worse than animals. They run around in the vicinity while the doctors and others in charge chase them.
  • An officer in the asylum dressed up as a security guard tortures the patients through electric shocks. He continues this horrifying activity throughout the film.
  • Two mentally retarded people play with life-supporting equipment attached to a person in coma; the makers have tried to induce comedy through the poor man’s torture.
  • The same poor old man’s disability is used to create laughter in a devilish way later on!
  • This is yet another Bollywood film featuring gays or homosexuals in the most objectionable manner.
  • There is a dose of racism too with respect a colored African or American. Bollywood still thinks it’s funny!

The film does offer some witty PJs that get you in splits; especially the type of humor Sajid is known for, mostly through his TV shows. The song ‘Caller tune’ is also a rare moment of satisfaction. But these instances are too minute in front of the rest of the torture that has a runtime of almost 3 hours.

When you have such content, it won’t be fair to blame the actors for such awkward performances. Despite this, Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor try their best and manage to appear genuinely crazily funny at various points.The three female characters – Bipasha Basu, Tamannah Bhatia and Esha Gupta – don’t get any scope and like Sajid’s previous few films, they are just used to expose their bodies. Satish Shah is hampered due to a terrible characterization. The rest of the actors are not worth mentioning.

Overall: Humshakals is a terrible attempt at comedy. Its only achievement is that it is much better than the disgraceful Grand Masti. Due to the hype and promotions, it will manage to get good or decent numbers at the box office in the first weekend. But it will suffer after that.


Filmistaan Review

Director: Nitin Kakkar

Producers: Satellite Pictures, UTV Motion Pictures and Shringar Films

Writers: Nitin Kakkar and Sharib Hashmi

Cast: Sharib Hashmi, Inaamulhaq, Kumud Mishra, Gopal Datt

Music: Arijit Dutta

Genre: Drama/ Comedy

Rating: * * * *

By: Keyur Seta

Story Outline: Sunny Arora (Sharib Hashmi) is a crazy Hindi film buff who lives life filmi style 24/7. He is aspiring to become an actor but isn’t getting an opportunity. So for the time being, he decides to become an assistant director for a documentary to be shot in Rajasthan by a group of Americans. During the shoot schedule, Sunny is abducted by a group of terrorists across the border in Pakistan. Will he ever return to the other side of the border?

Review: A border separates one country from another but human emotions remain the same all over the world, including the patch of land across the Line Of Control (LOC) called Pakistan. And when people from both sides of the border share a common crazy interest for Hindi films, the border becomes mentally invisible.

This theory of bonding is beautifully presented by director Nitin Kakkar in his debut flick Filmistaan through a smart mixture of rib-tickling and moving moments. What makes it even more special is that he has given a fitting tribute to Filmi Keedas like us to derive at the point.

filmistaan-movieLike all content-driven films, Filmistaan rides high largely due to the writing. An interesting story, watertight screenplay and creative dialogues give rise to these winning points:-

  • Sunny’s lovable character that recites famous Hindi film dialogues throughout the film, even in tense situations.
  • His close bond with Aftab through the medium of films.
  • The message of friendship given in a completely non-preachy manner.
  • A number of memorable scenes including, Maine Pyar Kiya sequence, filming of the hostage, Sunny’s encounter with a Hakeem (easily the most touching scene in recent times), Sunny and Aftab’s antics in the pre-climax, etc.

There isn’t an absence of flawlessness though due to some errors. It is also surprising to see no footage given to the consequences of the kidnapping in India. But thankfully, these points don’t affect you due to the overall content.

There is some smart display of camerawork by Subhansu Das. The background score too excels in creating the right emotions. Arijit Dutta has composed some soulful tracks that suit various situations perfectly.

The performances are of top draw. Sharib Hashmi (Shah Rukh Khan’s Pakistani friend in Jab Tak Hai Jaan) is outstanding! It looks like it was a cakewalk for him to get into the skin of the character of Sunny Arora. It is his act that takes the film to a higher level. Needless to say, he deserves to be seen more.

But despite such a strong performance from the main lead, Inaamulhaq succeeds in impressing with a brilliant portrayal of Aftab. The chemistry between the two actors is incredible. Kumud Mishra is perfect as the head of the terrorist group; he succeeds in speaking mostly through expressions. Some good supporting acts are seen from Waseem Khan, Sanjay Mehta and Tushar Jha. Habib Azmi deserves special mention for his wonderful cameo as the Hakeem.

Overall: Filmistaan highly succeeds in giving a positive message while paying a tribute to Hindi cinema and its fans. The film needs word-of-mouth to make an impact at the ticket window.